George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the New York Convention, 14 July 1776

To the New York Convention

Head-Quarters July 14th 1776


The passage of the Enemy up the North River is a point big wt. many Consequences to the public Interest, One particularly occurs to me well deserving your Attention, and to prevent which I shall gladly give every assistance in my power consistant with the safety of the Army, I am informed there are, several passes on each side the River upon which the Communication wt. Albany depends of so commanding a Nature that an inconsiderable Body of Men may defend them against the largest Numbers, it may be that on board these ships, there may be Troops for this purpose who expecting to be joined by the disaffected in that Quarter or confiding in their own Strength may endeavour to seize those defiles in which Case the intercourse between the Two Armies both by Land and Water will be wholly cut off, than which a greater Misfortune could hardly befall the service and Army, I must entreat you to take the measure into Consideration and if possible provide against an Evil so much to be apprehended, I should hope the Militia of those Counties might be used on such an Emergence untill further provision was made, I have also tho’t it very probable those Ships may have carried up Arms & Ammunition to be dealt out to those who may favour their Cause and Co-operate with them at a prefix’d time, I would to guard against this submit to your Consideration the propriety of writeing to the leading Men on our side in these Counties to be very vigilent in observing any movements of this kind in order that so dangerous a Scheme may be nipp’d in the Bud—For that purpose to keep the utmost Attention to the Conduct of the Principle Tories in those parts, any attempts of intercourse wt. the ships and all other Circumstances which may lead to a Discovery of their Schemes & the Destruction of their Measures. I am Gentlemen &c.


LB, in Samuel Blachley Webb’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The LB is addressed “to The Honbl. The President of the Provincial Congress New York.” The New York convention read this letter on the morning of 15 July, and that afternoon it was referred to a committee consisting of John Jay, Robert Yates, William Duer, Robert R. Livingston, and Charles DeWitt, with instructions to report on it “with all possible speed” (N.Y. Prov. Congress Journals description begins Journals of the Provincial Congress, Provincial Convention, Committee of Safety, and Council of Safety of the State of New-York, 1775–1776–1777. 2 vols. Albany, 1842. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records). description ends , 1:523–24). For the convention’s action on this letter, see Nathaniel Woodhull’s two letters of 15 July to GW.

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